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Think Twice Before Taking Cheap Shots at the Unemployed

If you’ve never been on unemployment, poor, scrambling to pay basic bills—all while trying to keep a family together—count your blessings and think twice before taking cheap shots at people who are doing whatever they can to get by right now.

Being unemployed sucks.

As someone who has been on unemployment quite a few times throughout my life, I can tell you that whether we want to admit it or not, a HUGE part of our self-worth and how we feel about ourselves is tied into having a job, any job, even one we hate.

If you are ever looking for a job, the best thing you can do is to make finding a job your full-time job. Get up early, shower, shave, get dressed, and clock-in for a day of trying to do anything and everything you can to find something. But even then, even in the best of conditions, this can take weeks, months, and sometimes even years.

I cannot imagine what unemployed people must be feeling now with this constant stop-and-go around us all.

Even being unemployed during the best economies, you still feel isolated and alone—unworthy of talking to friends and family, not wanting to admit that you need help. You want to ask your friends and family for leads, for love, for support, for just simply a kind word. They probably want to reach out to you to provide all of those things but don’t want you to feel worse.

But why is it so damn hard for us to ask for help? To give it freely? Why do we let pride and shame pile it on us and our loved ones? Why can’t we break this toxic cycle?

If you are out there struggling to get by, I want you to know that I love you and I’m rooting for you. Things can and will get better if you never stop fighting. You will come through this with a fresh, freeing perspective that will change your life for the better if you let it. You will be stronger, more appreciative, more caring, and closer to everyone and everything around you.

The tightest bonds we have in life come from working through stressful situations with people. Right now, a whole lot of people are stressed out of their minds, crippled by anxiety from all of the uncertainty out there. Their bodies hurt, their minds are exhausted, and their joints are literally clicking from being so tight that it hurts to move at times.

So, instead of kicking these people while they are down, reach out and try to help them up. (While respecting their boundaries and preferences, of course.)  Make yourself available to friends and family who are having a hard time now. Listen to what they’re going through, and affirm their experience rather than offering unsolicited advice or trying to fix things. Validate, don’t shame. Congratulate them on even the smallest wins like sending off another application or getting past the first interview. Remind them of their worth beyond employment, while also acknowledging how soul-crushing unemployment can be. Share promising job leads where it makes sense, but don’t nag. Hire someone to do that task you’ve been putting off. The point is, we can ALL get through this mess together.

I send my love to all of you. Now, spread that love however you see fit.